The financial woes of fashion retailer Joules came to light when it was revealed that the company owed a staggering £114 million before its collapse into administration. This enormous debt was owed to various parties, including trade creditors, gift card holders, and HMRC. The company’s ‘statement of affairs’ showed that it owed HMRC a hefty sum of £3.86 million and had £1.3 million due to gift card holders. Trade creditors, including property companies and landlords, were owed a significant amount totalling £37.7 million.

Despite having assets worth approximately £22 million to pay preferential creditors, Joules was forced to suspend its shares in November. The company had failed to secure financial backing, which was a result of disappointing sales over the past few months. However, the situation took a positive turn when Next and founder Tom Joule successfully acquired the majority of Joules’ assets for £34 million in a post-administration takeover. This acquisition effectively saved nearly 1,500 jobs. As a result, Next now holds a 74% stake in the retailer, while Joule retains a 26% share.